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Now Irish deer licences go online to cut delays

Ireland brings in a new system to address delays but will it be labelled discriminatory after West Mercia Police attempted to do the same?

Deer hunting licences in the Republic of Ireland are to be streamlined by a new online platform developed by the National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS), which manages the country’s nature conservation responsibilities. It aims to make it easier and faster for hunters to obtain their licences in time for the start of the season. 

NPWS has made the application process for the deer hunting licence completely online through the Heritage Licensing Portal, which went live on Tuesday last week (4 June). Applications via post or email will be phased out. 

Applicants will need to set up a user account on the NPWS Heritage Licensing Portal, uploading a passport-style photo and a firearms licence certificate or proof of firearm purchase ( 

Earlier this year, West Mercia Police Force in England announced their firearms licensing process would be moved entirely online and that printed shotgun and firearms applications would no longer be accepted. 

BASC wrote to West Mercia to challenge the change, on the grounds it would have been discriminatory towards older certificate holders and those who didn’t have access to the internet. West Mercia immediately backtracked and allowed paper applications to continue (News, 15 May). 

The new licence system in Ireland will now require first-time hunters to pass a certificate of competence, which will be optional for renewing applicants. For those applying for a licence for the first time, the NPWS has mandated attendance of a deerstalking competency course run by either the Deer Alliance, Country Sports Ireland, or the National Association of Regional Game Councils. 

The NPWS no longer requires written landowner permissions. Instead, applicants must complete a declaration regarding land permission and compliance with Section 28 of the Wildlife Act. 

Wicklow Mountains stalker Will O’Meara told Shooting Times: “I hope the new online application and licence issuing will streamline the process and deliver licences to hunters in a simplified efficient manner. 

“During the Covid pandemic there were significant delays. This new system should ensure no such delays occur and make it easier for visiting hunters to buy their licence.”